The Health Benefits of Gardening

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: Exercise, General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

GardeningMay is here, and in most areas of the country spring flowers are in full bloom. Many of my neighbors are outside tending their gardens, which as you can imagine—especially if you’re a gardener yourself—is great exercise. But did you know that there are very specific health benefits you can get from gardening, especially as you age?

Scientists from Kansas State University studied a number of health markers in both gardeners and non-gardeners, such as physical fitness level, hand strength, bone mineral density, and emotional well-being. They found that gardening not only provided a decent amount of physical activity, but also improved hand strength and sense of well-being.

The increase in hand strength is a given—just think about all of that digging, pruning, and watering. And the boost in mood makes perfect sense. Nurturing living things requires regular attention and plenty of TLC. Gardening is also a great way to soak up sunshine, which is essential for vitamin D production.

So, dust off those trowels, pull out those gloves, and head outside and get to work. Just be sure to cover up with loose-fitting long sleeves and a wide-brimmed hat after you get your 20-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.

playing cardsHow did you do on Monday’s Brain Bender?

The answer is that the order of the playing cards was King, 8, 10, Queen, Ace, Jack, 9. Did you get the answer right?

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